All Internet connectivity is not created equal. It has always been this way. Depending on your age, your first connection may have been a dial-up over your physical home phone line (~36Kbps or 36,000 bits per second). Your first business connection to the World Wide Web in the 90s would have likely been a T-1 connection (1.5Mbps or 1,500,000 bits per second). In the 2000s, your office may have switched to a Digital Subscriber Line (DSL) of varying speeds from 1-5Mbps. These offerings promised differing carrier technologies, speeds, price points, and reliability.
As we know, dial-up is long since obsolete by today's high-resolution content. For most, T-1 speeds were doubled by DSL at a fraction of the cost. In our area, Comcast was next to throw their hat in the business Internet market in the early 2000s. Consumers who had been paying less than $100/mo. for 5Mbps could now receive a service that was 15X faster for only 50% more.
Since that time, traffic on The Internet (good riddance, World Wide Web) has grown exponentially. Internet World Stats reports that in December of 1995 there were 16 million Internet users. In 2017, there are nearly 4 billion. In 1995 we were sending text pages (messages from a thing called a pager) over private cellular networks. Today, we send high-resolution video clips attached to text messages, all traversing the shared and interconnected networks that make up the Internet. Add today's millions of Netflix, YouTube, Hulu, etc. subscribers and things can start...running...slowly.
There is a fast lane. There has been a "Public Internet" and a "Private Internet" since the beginning. You can think of Public networks as highways, and Private networks as toll roads. For many years, the Private Internet was the exclusive domain of the enterprise. Private, global networks were purpose-built for performance and security. The current iteration of this type of network is referred to as Interconnection. Because the varied capacities of the Public Internet no longer satisfy the needs of many businesses and services, Interconnection is now growing twice as fast as the Public Internet.
With overlapping offerings, the trickle-down of enterprise technology (such as VoIP) to small business, greater security concerns, and the impending changes in Net Neutrality, small and medium businesses have more options and more to consider. Before you make final decisions (with associated long-term agreements), ask yourself these questions; How much bandwidth (the amount of speed) do you need? Do you need a synchronous connection (the same speed for upload and download), or will an asynchronous connection suffice? Do you need a secondary/backup connection and a device that can manage multiple connections? Do you plan to implement Voice over IP (VoIP) for integration and savings? Do you need a high quality connection (such as dedicated fiber optic) with guaranteed uptime, or will will the eb and flow of shared bandwidth work for your business?
Not sure? We can help.
Here are a few Rules of Thumb for business:
- • Dedicated bandwidth (ex. fiber optic) is far more stable, reliable, and also more expensive than shared bandwidth.
- • In our market, moving numerous lines to VoIP over a shared Internet connection can at times be analogous to driving a sports car on a bad dirt road. You can do it, but you may not enjoy it.
- • If you can tolerate weather-related speed fluctuations, occasional service interruptions and outages, and your primary concern is raw bang-for-your-buck, you may prefer shared networks.
- • If you depend on constant and reliable connectivity (99% uptime), plan to implement VoIP, can benefit from secure and managed point-to-point connectivity between your offices, and have a suitable annual budget for connectivity, the best option you have today is dedicated fiber optic Internet service.
WinTech is a Shentel Business Partner. We have worked together to facilitate business Internet connectivity, Interconnection, Local Area Networking, and Voice over IP solutions for some of the area’s most respected companies. Do you need dedicated Internet connectivity with 99% uptime?
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